Donald Trump

Corey DeAngelis: COVID-19 Is Super-Spreading School Choice

Lockdowns are forcing students, parents, educators, and even taxpayers to look for all sorts of alternatives to the status quo.


The lockdowns in response to COVID-19 have upended no part of our lives more than education, where virtually no K-12 schools are open for business with full-time, in-person instruction. The result is something approaching pandemonium for students, parents, and educators alike, all of whom are scrambling to make sense of a system that no longer seems capable of doing what it's supposed to do. 

The one constant? Critiques of school choice—especially by wealthy, well-connected liberals such as Samantha Bee, the host of the popular commentary show Full Frontal on TBS. In a recent segment called "How The School Choice Debate Is Failing Our Public Schools," Bee took a dark view of alternatives to traditional public schools, warning that "private and charter schools can be especially problematic because some states have virtually no oversight over them."

As a matter of fact, Bee is wrong, especially about charter schools, which are always overseen by either local or state education officials. But her anxiety—and that of other defenders of the status quo—is understandable: The lockdowns and forced shift to mostly virtual learning are driving massive interest in alternatives to the residential-assignment public schools most Americans have attended for decades. Angry pushback from teachers unions about going back into classrooms and the desultory quality of learning via Zoom is activating parents in a way that white papers on school reform never did.

For today's podcast, Nick Gillespie speaks with Corey DeAngelis, the director of school choice for Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website and podcast. They talk about why COVID-19 will almost certainly spur long-lasting interest in school choice and the success of the new collection DeAngelis co-edited with Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute, School Choice Myths: Setting the Record Straight on Education Reform. In a wide-ranging conversation, they also discuss presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden's open antagonism toward school choice, especially charter schools, and whether President Donald Trump's warm embrace of choice is actually a mixed blessing for reformers.

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  1. It’d be really nice if real school choice came out of all this. Could do a lot of good to get diversity in education.

    1. Right as Critical Racist Theory is starting to super spread in government schools.

      1. Not just government schools, unfortunately.

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  2. Delivery of educational content has been changed for all time, due to the pandemic. That is one net positive.

    Public schools and universities are about to become a lot more responsive to students…as opposed to be stooges for a union.

    1. I think universities are about to be downsized in a massive and needed way. People were already starting to realize the value of an undergraduate degree in no way was equal to the cost in most cases before this. The colleges still demanding tuition but refusing to hold classes has just accelerated this realization.

  3. As a matter of fact, Bee is wrong

    What’s this?! Samantha Bee is wrong about something?! I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

    1. Jon Stewart is responsible for Samantha Bee and John Oliver have careers and are nationally known. If that doesn’t make Stewart one of the great monsters of the 21st Century so far, I don’t know what would. My God Bee is awful.

      1. Agreed. She is terminally unfunny and cannot carry a 30 minute show. Oliver is just deranged – it’s one long spiel with spittle. Noah isn’t very comedic and he does a bad Stewart impression.

        Bee basically decided to blow off all Obama’s bad mistakes. She got in one shot at the end of his second term about deportations but of course completely missed his caged kids.

  4. Why is this filed under “Donald Trump”?

    1. Reason has a quota for Trump references for the editors?

  5. >>no longer seems capable of doing what it’s supposed to do

    obligated to restate schools were failing to do what they were “supposed to do” for decades.

    1. Milton Friedman was analyzing the failed public school system back in the 50s. This has been a LONG time coming.

  6. private and charter schools can be especially problematic because some states have virtually no oversight over them.

    Right; because politician-oversight over LEARNING is obviously such a benefit. /s As-if politicians were the smartest most productive people on the planet. lmao..

    No wonder people are acting more like idiotic politicians more-so everyday. Here’s a hint; politicians are SOOO useless they cannot even *earn* a living wage; they have to STEAL it from those who actually produce something of value.

    1. Maybe it is the parents’ job to exercise oversight over what kind of education a school is providing children?

      It is an idea so crazy that it just might work.

      1. No, no, no, John, you see, not all parents are capable of exercising oversight of their kids’ education. This creates inequality. Inequality is bad. Therefore, in the interest of equity, private schooling should not be allowed or, if we allow it, it must be indistinguishable from public school.

  7. The private school next door to where I live decided to go virtual, but still charge $30,000 a year; many parents revolted, and a host of creative alternatives is springing up. What seems to be working are small pods with a few children in the same grade, and just a few teachers. The teacher I spoke with said that all the kids really need is a handful of friends their own age, who are in the same grade, that they can interact and learn with.

  8. Why did government not concede parental school choice in the first place? Just who is supposed to be in charge of children, the government or parents?

    1. For all the progressives, the answer to your question is obvious. It’s almost surprising to them that someone would think parents should have any say in their child’s education.

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  10. “. . . where virtually no K-12 schools are open for business with full-time, in-person instruction.”

    All schools around here, preschool through college, are open, full time, in person.

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